Skip to main content

VisiCalc (1979) (Software Arts)

Item Preview

[screenshot]

software
VisiCalc (1979) (Software Arts)


Published 1979


VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet computer program, originally released for the Apple II. It is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool. VisiCalc sold over 700,000 copies in six years.

Conceived by Dan Bricklin, refined by Bob Frankston, developed by their company Software Arts, and distributed by Personal Software in 1979 (later named VisiCorp) for the Apple II computer, it propelled the Apple from being a hobbyist's toy to a useful tool for business, two years before the introduction of the IBM PC.

VisiCalc was, in part, inspired by earlier "row and column" spreadsheet programs in widespread use on systems of several national timesharing companies. Notable among these products were Business Planning Language (BPL) from International Timesharing Corporation (ITS) and Foresight, from Foresight Systems. Dan Bricklin writes, "[W]ith the years of experience we had at the time we created VisiCalc, we were familiar with many row/column financial programs. In fact, Bob had worked since the 1960s at Interactive Data Corporation, a major timesharing utility that was used for some of them and I was exposed to some at Harvard Business School in one of the classes." However, these earlier timesharing spreadsheet programs were not completely interactive, nor did they run on personal computers.

According to Bricklin, he was watching a professor at Harvard Business School create a financial model on a blackboard. When the professor found an error or wanted to change a parameter, he had to erase and rewrite a number of sequential entries in the table. Bricklin realized that he could replicate the process on a computer using an "electronic spreadsheet" to view results of underlying formulae. The development of Visicalc took two months of work by Frankston and Bricklin during the winter of 1978–79.


Click on the screenshot to run an in-browser emulation of the program.



Identifier VisiCalc_1979_SoftwareArts
Mediatype software
Publicdate 2013-10-11 09:24:26
Addeddate 2013-10-11 09:24:26
Date 1979
Year 1979
Filesxml Mon Oct 21 5:19:27 UTC 2013
Emulator apple2e
Emulator_ext dsk
Language English

comment
Reviews

Reviewer: David Rosenthal - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 2, 2015
Subject: Usage information
You will need the reference card which is on Dan Bricklin's site and in the Wayback Machine.
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
Jason Scott
on 10/11/2013
Views
784,422
Favorites
7
Reviews
1
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
eye
Title
Date Archived
Creator
Historical Software Collection
by Phil Shapiro and Dave Lyons
software
eye 212
favorite 0
comment 0
Historical Software Collection
by Apple Computer
software
eye 713,579
favorite 18
comment 3
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 3 reviews )
The Business Case
by Software Arts, Inc.
software
eye 116
favorite 0
comment 0
Historical Software Collection
by Beagle Brothers
software
eye 778
favorite 0
comment 0
Historical Software Collection
software
eye 728,574
favorite 7
comment 0
Rhode Island Apple Group Floppy Disk Collection
collection
1,123
ITEMS
75,463
VIEWS
collection
eye 75,463
Historical Software Collection
by MECC
software
eye 14,295
favorite 7
comment 0
Historical Software Collection
software
eye 398
favorite 0
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Historical Software Collection
software
eye 722,215
favorite 2
comment 0